Adapting With Alex Garrett

Adapt With Alex!

Tag: ability

Being Selective While Being Disabled

Next month, the disabled community works towards gaining more acceptance 31 years after the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act. While the work is never done smashing stigma and gaining acceptance, let’s adapt the goal! Let’s be selective!

Selectivity is a topic that has come up over the last week, so I feel compelled to write about this idea! I also think God has put us where we are meant to be in life, and gives us the intuition to be selective !

I promise you , I am not jaded about people. I LOVE people, I love socializing. This pandemic has made me too anxious about not seeing friends again if I’m honest. Yet, I am more eyes-open about people’s motives having about 11 years into adulthood now.

To be widely accepted has been excited , to be able to announce in college had been exciting has heck. I was happy-go-lucky and wanted to be friends with everybody because that is my nature . All my life , I never thought I couldn’t make friends because I have one leg . If I didn’t think people would gravitate and I couldn’t get the nerve to gravitate toward people, I would have just stayed home!

Yet, in college , there were a couple people who saw the energy I was putting out there and DRAINED me. I was pushed around on my skate by a ‘friend’ and he almost knocked me over. I had enough of that friendship, especially when it felt financially tied together. Friendship shouldn’t be bought, it’s a lesson I’ve learned for years. It also was my awakening to the fact that maybe I did try to be friends with everybody . Again, I did that just because that who is I am. Regardless, some I feel in the disabled community consciously try to become friend with everyone because they are scared to be selective . It’s 2021, DON’T BE SCARED TO BE SELECTIVE!

On the outside looking in some might think we have trouble making friends. So, I’ve seen they take that thought and try to be buddy-buddy only for ulterior motives to be revealed as things move along, specifically someone like my former college friend . On dating, some might think we try too hard instead of point blank putting in the effort to get to truly know us and to understand us!

While we want acceptance, knowing our worth in this world will gain acceptance even more and move our life forward. We also have to face the fact , not all can accept us as is, and it’s ok to not accept all into our sphere. Let me write that again, not all can accept us as is, and it’s ok to not accept all into our sphere.

If we are selective, it can also help us stay healthy. Mentally trying to make a friendship work will actually deter us from staying healthy. Being wrapped up in relationship worries that don’t work out because we feel we can’t do better will bring us down a few notches also.

Let’s keep smashing stigma in 2021. Prove that we don’t have trouble , we just really are selective! I’ve got a good corps of good friends that I can rely on and just have fun times with, that’s all I can really ask for!

Blindness As an Ultra-Ability on Adapting With Alex Garrett

On my recent podcast , Dr. Shirley Cheng , described becoming blind at age 17 and then proceeding to start her own ministry called ‘Ultra Ability’!

Take a listen to my latest podcast here !

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/43759058

Adapting To , Not Ridding, Disability

Below is a portion of a transcript from my January 15th podcast, ‘Adapting To, Not ‘Ridding’ Disabilities’.
(https://www.spreaker.com/episode/42959125)

Article referenced in the DurangoHeraldOpinion by Tara Kiene on 1/8/21

(https://durangoherald.com/articles/359852)

‘I want you to be introduced to a woman named Tara Kiene. She’s the president CEO of Community Connections and in the Durango Herald she writes this incredible piece about changing the perceptions of the disabled community.

I think that is always what we need to do. We need to continue to smash stigma, but listen to how she writes about it. This is so cool. She wrote a great story. And what I would like to highlight are a couple of points that she made. ‘By focusing on people and ridding them of their disabilities, we discount the capabilities they offer right there.’

I’ve often been encouraged to get a prosthetic like personally that has always been like someone saying, why don’t you do this? And I tried it and I wanted to try it on as an adult. But then I thought that wouldn’t be the real me, that rollerblading would stop if I had a prosthetic leg. And more importantly, it would not be me and who God made. So there’s a lot of reasons why I enjoy rollerblading around the city. I enjoy not having a prosthetic because I don’t believe in ridding anything I believe in overcoming it.

I believe in continuing to love it, roll with it and continue to roll on with it. Let me put it that way. The whole idea that we can reshape reframe abilities and disabilities is great to hear. I want to hear more of that. I want to hear you’re this and we’re going to make it so that you can do this. We’re going to love on you and you’re going to do it. That’s how luckily my family raised me. I feel, and that’s how my friends were raised in the disabled community.

She said many people with learning disabilities find that they have struggled with reading. And because of that, they developed extraordinary memories and that benefits them in their later careers. Also, can we stop hiring people just because it feels good. It’s a feel good story. Hire them because they deserve to be hired. Hire them, not just to talk about diversity, or to meet a quota, hire them because you see something in them that maybe someone, a business down the road doesn’t see in them or refuses to seeing them hire them. Because you know, they can do a good job. Not because it’s some nice community service award.

The disability community is more than inspirational. It’s more than a community service effort to get them included. We’re just here we are amongst you. And the moment we say, yeah, he’s being hired or she’s being hired because of what she can do. Not because she’s overcoming what she can’t do. We’ll be in a better spot. The more we say I’m hiring you because I want to, I know you can do something. I know you’re working on whatever you’re dealing with and I want to see that work in my company, not to get some newspaper article about how this company hired this person. I mean, it’s nice, but that’s not why we exist.

The community and the adapting exists because we choose to exist. We choose to adapt to whatever we got going on.

And I hope you realize that. I hope you feel it. I hope if you’re a business owner listening to this, that you feel even more inspired to bring on people differently, abled, disabled people, whatever you want to say. And not because you want to feel good about yourself because you know, they can do the job. You know, they are equal opportunity for a reason, not just because it says so on some plaque, but because you know that they can do it. And I’m glad there are programs to help people who get frustrated, who get down, who don’t know if they can do it. There are programs there to help. I love that, but you know what I love even more. The fact that companies can take a risk on someone, not the average, Joe, not your regular someone who’s been stigmatized.

Those who see the stigmatizedfor more than just what’s on the cover. It takes a community effort, but there’s also no doubt that community embraces not memorializes it or highlights it as some great community service. It should be accepted that people with disabilities can do something amazing. It shouldn’t be some shock to people. It shouldn’t be like that meme that says it takes one disabled person to screw in the light bulb, and five others who are inspired by it. It shouldn’t be that way.

Let’s stop as a society assuming disabled people can’t adapt. Can’t learn. Can’t relearn. Can’t restudy. Can’t get themselves back on track, but let’s hire because we know they can do great things and not just for a photo op, but for the betterment of a company. Kudos to Tara Kiene for this article. I definitely want to bring her on and see what we can do and see how we can cover neurodiversity. We’re adapting, we’re re-framing. And we are living. Come with us as we live together in these crazy, crazy times.’

Independence Day Gives Us The Ability Too

We have the ABILITY to control our destiny, a destiny that was provided July 4th, 1776!

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It was like I had an epiphany this weekend. A stream of consciousness similar to the streams of red, white and blue seen in Washington D.C. during their Independence Day Celebration. A stream of consciousness that was as colorful in my brain as the Macy’s fireworks launching from the Empire State Building Saturday night!

This stream of consciousness told me ‘I have the ability’ to do good and help bring positivity into this life even more! Furthermore, I realized God is moving my podcasting from ‘hard news’ coverage to better content that can move conversations forward. Truly, He is putting items on my agenda to discuss and I feel better listening to His lead!

It felt fitting to feel that empowerment on the weekend where we celebrated the Founding Fathers’ ability to make us an independent nation 244 years ago! They saw their ability to break free, they recognized it was a God-Given ability and they fought for our freedoms!

In 1775, ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death’ orator Patrick Henry, of Virginia, recognized the ABILITY the ‘British America’ had to break free from Britain. He literally begged the Congress, saying, “Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years.” He also added, “the war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle?” That, along with Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’, propelled us to July 4th, 1776!

Our first President, George Washington, knew his Continental Army had the ABILITY to cross the Delaware and defeat the British that cold Christmas night December 25th, 1776. He knew this nation had the ability to actually falter in chaos. If you could believe it, in his farewell address, he foretold the Party system could lead us into rioting and insurrection. Isn’t it crazy that was playing out on our TV screens just months before our Nation’s birthday?

So, I come here to say if we already have the ability to falter, why keep faltering as a country? Why not again recognize we have the ABILITY to rise above the ashes of burnt police departments? Why not recognize that law enforcement has the ABILITY to defend and protect when given the chance? Why not recognize we have the ABILITY to rise above the sickness plaguing this country and work to finally eradicate it?

We’ve seen protests. The greatness of America and Independence Day is abilities that freedom gave us to go ahead and protest. Amazingly, that right extends to burning the American Flag. Now, you might be mad that I included protesting and burning the American Flag in the same sentence. I recognize that not everyone is burning Old Glory, but to those that truly want change because you love America and Americans, recognize YOUR ABILITY to stop the flag-burning if you see it around you. I’d love to highlight an example! Chicago Cub Rick Monday (coincidentally this is published on a Monday), saw protesters at Dodger Stadium in 1976. They attempted to light an American Flag on fire in CENTERFIELD! Monday, with the quick hands scooped and saved the American Flag! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbr1hNp-nI4)

By the same token, if you stand for police, but also do protest in favor of fair policing, just know you have the ABILITY to tell anyone you see screaming in the faces of good cops protecting protesters that those cops are not the issue.

This Independence Day 2020, let us not forget the idea of self-governance is a reason why we became a free nation after all. Those who fought for America to be a stand-alone country believed in the ABILITY of us to self-govern.

July is going to also mark 30 years of the Americans With Disabilities Act! This act has also empowered self-governance and empowered the disabled community to be part of the United States of America. Each day, disabled Americans strive as part of this nation and I’m happy to report nearly 20% of the disabled community is working, and I implore more companies not be afraid and see that those with disabilities also have ABILITIES! (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/disabl.pdf)

From the disabled community to resilience of Americans driving down numbers through COVID, America has that resilience gene in it daily. To have the resilience and to push through the crises at hand and have a fireworks display across New York City this Independence Day (though unannounced most days) felt meaningful. It felt as meaningful as the Piazza 2001 comeback game against the Braves! Felt as meaningful as the 2001 World Series which brought NYC and America back to LIFE! It showed this country continues to have the guts and resilience! To keep this a great country, we must recognize our ABILITY to stand up for who and what is right and just!

Finally, let us recognize we have our OWN resilience and ABILITY to bounce back from everything we go through on a daily basis. We have the ABILITY to control our destiny, a destiny that was provided July 4th, 1776!

Independence Day 2020 Fireworks Atop Empire State Building (AlexGInNYC)

City Honors Disabled Community As ADA Turns 28

On July 26th, Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off the annual Sapolin Awards at Gracie Mansion by stating strongly that “we want to be the fairest big city in America, and that means we have to be the most accessible big city in America!” That statement kicked off a night in which companies in and around NYC were honored for their support of the disabled community through employment opportunities; through accessibility to entertainment, including Broadway; and through technological accessibility.

The Mayor made it a point to honor the disabled community on the day the Americans With Disabilities Act turned 28 adding that the ADA is a “statement valuing each and every person”. The disabled community makes up 11.2% of the city’s population and companies like Uniqlo and Broadway chain Shubert Organization have not lost sight.

Among the award winners at Gracie Mansion was Hiroshi Taki, CEO of Uniqlo USA. He was awarded the Employment Award by the Mayor’s Office of People With Disabilities  (MOPD) Commissioner Victor Calise. Calise awarded Uniqlo because they have hired 20 disabled college students and recent graduates from the NYC area as they continue to expand. In entertainment, Robert Wankel, CEO of the Shubert Organization was given the Public Accomodation award for spearheading the efforts to making EVERY Broadway theater accessible through closed captioning, hearing devices and spatially. Wankel noted that while the Shubert Organization got the award, “the Broadway team is a community and so everybody is on board”.

In attendance was recently-named MTA President Andrew “Andy” Byford. He has put accessibility within mass transit front-and-center. He told me after the gala, “I can’t rest, I can’t call New York City Transit world class until it’s accessible to everyone.” For a closer look at Byford’s plan see HERE.  (https://www.mta.info/sites/default/files/mtaimgs/fast_forward_the_plan_to_modernize_nyct.pdf)

Queens College graduate and Flushing resident, Peter Trojic, who gets around the city in a wheelchair and is now part of the Heidi Latsky dance company talked to me after the event. Trojic, 30, said the ADA has shaped lives and for the City of New York to remember the passage is “greatly important because this is something that’s over. The disability rights movement is one of the last civil rights movements.”

While progress HAS been made in 28 years for Americans With Disabilities it’s important to note the cause never dies! For more information on how the city is working to aid the disabled community I’d urge you to visit the Office of People With Disabilities website to stay up-to-date and more importantly stay involved! (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/mopd/index.page)